Who needs a Trust?

When people hear the word “trust”, they often think of uber-wealthy “trust fund babies” like Paris Hilton.  The truth is, there are lots of reasons to have a trust, and trusts are a very common part of an estate plan.  While the Hilton family and other wealthy families may use trusts for tax planning and creditor protection, most families use trusts when there is a reason to separate the control of assets from the benefit of assets.  For example, you may want your 8 year old and 10 year old to benefit from your assets if you die, but you certainly don’t want them to control your assets.  A trust gives control to a person (or corporation) who you trust—that person or corporation is the “Trustee”.  The Trustee follows the instructions you give in the trust (for example, “distribute $10,000 to my child upon graduation from college”) and the Trustee has broad powers to manage the assets until the time you specify when the trust terminates and the beneficiaries receive the property outright (for example, when the children attain age 35).  The Trustee also has duties imposed by law, including loyalty to the beneficiaries and prudence in management of the trust assets.  Many people name a family member as Trustee, but you can name a friend, professional advisor or trust company as well.  If you have any questions about trusts or who to name as your Trustee, please call our office to be connected with one of our attorneys.

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